Collection / Painting

The collection
of paintings
Painting // The collection of paintings includes several masterpieces: Among 19th century painters are French and German impressionists as well as Manet, Cézanne and van Gogh, Liebermann and Slevogt. Works from the Expressionist period, from the “Neue Sachlichkeit” as well as by abstract painters of the Bauhaus represent the most important movements within Modern Art. Besides singular outstanding works like Francis Bacon’s “Pope II” the collection also holds groups of works such as German and international Informel with paintings from Ernst Wilhelm Nay to Pierre Soulages.
Fritz Wichert was the first director of the Kunsthalle Mannheim and favoured collecting with an international angle. Largely ignoring opposition by politicians and the public alike, Wichert focused with admirable foresight on French painting, juxtaposing it with its German counterparts. Landscape was an important genre in Wichert’s collection, as well as figuration and portraiture. Still life becomes significant in the Expressionists’ paintings by Emil Nolde, Erich Heckel and Max Pechstein. The exhibition “Neue Sachlichkeit” in 1925 has reached legendary status in museum world: Gustav F. Hartlaub, the Kunsthalle’s second director, gave the realistic paintings of the 1920s their name, thus named a whole the movement and wrote art history.  Apart from works by Otto Dix, George Grosz, Alexander Kanoldt, Rudolf Schlichter and Georg Scholz, excellent paintings by Max Beckmann constitute the highlights of the collection. Hartlaub honoured abstract painting as early as 1927 with a presentation, and his interest was taken up by the museum after World War II. Informalism is represented in the collection of the Kunsthalle Mannheim as well as constructive abstract art of the 1960s. Moreover, the return to figurative painting of the “Neue Wilde” in the 1908s can be exemplified by singular works within the collection. Integrating everyday life into art came about in Paris around 1960. Nouveau Réalisme is represented by Arman, César, Raymond Hains, Yves Klein, Daniel Spoerri, Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle.

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